MISS STODDARD WOULD HAVE US BELIEVE THAT IT’S THE FAULT OF THE U.S. THAT THESE MACHINES ARE BEING IMPLEMENTED INTO CANADA…UH, NO..WE CAN THANK MUSLIMS WHO HAVE ALREADY DISPLAYED THEIR PENCHANT FOR HIJACKING AIRPLANES AND PLOWING THEM INTO BUILDINGS….
‘Naked’ screening may land at Canadian airports, says privacy czar
In this file photo, Canada’s Transport Minister John Baird is framed by a full-body scanner while speaking during a news conference in Ottawa.
Photograph by: Chris Wattie, Reuters
OTTAWA — Canada’s privacy watchdog has warned that even more intrusive “naked” screening machines at airports could be in the works with the federal government’s emphasis on national security.
Speaking to members of the Canadian Bar Association, Jennifer Stoddart on Monday highlighted national security as one of the pressing issues that keeps her “up at night” and mused openly about second generation full-body scanners coming to Canada in the future, calling them “naked, naked” scanners.
“National security pressures — they’re real, they’re constant,” Stoddart, Canada’s privacy commissioner since 2003, told participants of the special symposium about privacy in the age of technology.
“Are we going to get naked, naked machines? Apparently, not for the moment.”
Stoddart’s office began probing privacy considerations of full body imaging technologies in 2008, and signed off earlier this year on the use of millimetre wave body scanners as a secondary screening tool at major airports across Canada.
At the time, Stoddart acknowledged the imaging machines, which scan through clothing and produce a three-dimensional outline of a person’s naked body to catch any non-metallic objects, were controversial, but said the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority agreed to use the technology to minimize the intrusion to privacy.
In an interview following her remarks, Stoddart noted the Transportation Security Administration in the United States already uses machines with “more sharply” defined imaging technology called backscatter.
And recently, “there was some talk in the United States of another form of scanner in which the images are even sharper,” said Stoddart.
“We’re called upon to continuously pass judgment on these.”
A spokesman for CATSA confirmed Canadian airports are currently using millimeter wave technology, but declined to say whether an investment in new imagine machines to obtain even sharper images is in the works for the future.
“We do not have any information to share on ‘upgrade,'” said spokesman Mathieu Larocque.
In January, Ottawa announced the purchase of 44-full-body screening machines using millimetre wave technology for $11 million for installation at airports in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa and Halifax.
The announcement came on the heels of a failed terrorist attack in the U.S. on Dec. 25.
A spokesman for TSA said the agency currently deploys 135 units using backscatter technology and 89 machines using milllimeter wave technology, and plans to continue to have a mix of the two as it ramps up to 1,000 units by the end of 2011, completing a shift from using full-body scanners as secondary screening to primary screening.
“Privacy is a keystone to this technology and there’s privacy algorithms that are placed on the images as well as other steps taken to ensure that passengers’ privacy is always protected,” said Greg Soule.
He added, “Our machines are delivered to the airport without the ability to store, transmit or print images. Once an image is cleared, it is gone forever.”
During her symposium presentation, Stoddart also took a shot at the U.S. government for failing to take on the Google and Facebook “empires.”
“Why is Canada paying for the cost of this enforcement for this technology that’s coming to us out of Mountain View (Calif.), so we’re looking for the U.S. federal government to step up there,” said Stoddart.
Situated in California’s Silicon Valley, Mountain View is home to many of the largest technology companies in the world, including Google.
In the spring, Stoddart led an international effort of nine data protection authorities around the world “to express their concerns” about privacy issues related to Google Buzz. Since then, Canada’s privacy watchdog has launched an investigation into the online giant’s inadvertent collection of data from unsecured wireless networks as its cars were photographing streetscapes for its Street View map service.
In the case of Facebook, after announcing in July 2009 the social media giant was operating outside of Canada’s private-sector privacy law, Stoddart gave the company one year to change or face the risk of being hauled before a federal judge. The idea was to compel Facebook to implement the commissioner’s directives to provide users more detailed control over their personal information and to curtail the access of outside software and website developers to their data.
Stoddart is expected to make an imminent announcement about Facebook, which is also facing a second investigation, launched in January.